On Friday I attended the Learning 3 symposium at the British Museum in London along with Jane Hart, Laura Overton and a crowd of others, mostly from the UK Further and Higher Education sectors.
Here’s a picture of me at the event producing a 30-second series of sound bites on what the future of Learning and Development needs (the picture links to a video on the Learning 3 Ning site).
What our hosts LLUK (and particularly Briony Taylor) wanted to stimulate was a dialog around this question:
What are the skills and competencies needed by the lifelong learning sector now?
During the day I put out a quick Twitter poll on this, as it seemed odd to be discussing Learning 3 in a room without pulling in the wider learning community. Jane Hart did the same.
The learning Twittersphere was engaged: we generated quite a few replies….
Skills and systems have made the headlines in the last few days – for all the wrong reasons. Heathrow’s Terminal 5, opened to great fanfare on Thursday, and promptly ran into trouble.
A fifth of flights were cancelled and some 28,000 pieces of luggage not loaded, having to be matched to owners, often in far-flung locations, at some point this week.
The key problem: apparently staff at the £4.3 bn facility were inadequately trained, At least, that’s according to the mainstream media including the Daily Mail and the BBC.
Usually, the people element gets left out of these stories, and ‘IT’ or ‘systems’ are blamed. So, as an advocate of the importance of skills and development, shouldn’t I be pleased that training is getting the limelight?
No, it’s being made a scape goat.
Competency week, it’s a roller-coaster, eh? If you can take the white-knuckle pace, let’s move on to day 3. Today, I reflect on the views of Josh Bersin, an analyst focused on technology in the learning and talent spaces.
The IBM survey on Human Capital struck a chord – as I noted in October. It suggested that to succeed in the future, organisations will need a clear skills management process underpinned by a balanced view of competencies (detailed enough to be useful, general enough to be usable).
There have been plenty of reports recently that made the same points. One that struck me over the summer (what summer was that?) was Josh Bersin’s research, published in July , and further written up for October’s Talent Management magazine.
After surveying 700 corporations and talking to 55 executives about 62 talent management processes, Bersin boiled it down to a priority list of 22.
Here are the top 6:
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressed the employers’ organisation, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), today. According to the Press Association, he promised a shake up of skills to ensure a highly-qualified workforce:
“Let us face facts – as a result of changes in the global economy, many of the jobs British workers do now are becoming redundant,” he said. “Of today’s six million unskilled workers in Britain, we will soon need only half a million – over five million fewer.
“We have nine million highly qualified workers in Britain, but the challenge of the next 10 years is that we will need 14 million – five million more.”
Nobody disagrees that the UK needs a more highly skilled workforce. But nobody agrees how.
Who will sort it out?
The agenda for this year’s SFIA conference has been announced. It’s the sixth – which for a conference based on a competency framework must be a record. The Skills Framework for the Information Age seems here to stay.